LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. – Today, Lincoln University, is one of over 200 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus.”
“At Lincoln University, we encourage students to live a life empowered by education,” said Dr. Lenetta Lee, dean of the college and vice president for student success. “With that said, civic learning and democratic engagement are equally important to their success.”
The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
Lee said the University has been deliberate in its actions to increase civic learning and democratic engagement campus-wide.
“We aspire to cultivate democratic change in alignment with our vision: Reimagining the Legacy: Learn. Liberate. Lead. We seek to learn what it means to be civic-minded and fully engaged. The intent is to liberate ourselves and others while leading civically for a lifetime.”
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Our campus was evaluated based on a campus plan about how we would register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2020, how we facilitated voter engagement efforts on our campus, and a final analysis of our efforts- all in the face of the upheaval caused by a global pandemic. The designation is valid through December 2022.
As part of the effort to be designated a voter-friendly campus, Lincoln University created an action plan that included short- and long-term goals based on current efforts and the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement.
Campus activities included:
- Voter registration events during New Student Orientation before, during, and after student events.
- Presentations at the First Year Experience classes in August and September to discuss voter registration, education, and mobilization. During this time, the goal was to make certain all eligible first-year students are registered to vote.
- Mailing of absentee ballot requests to all remote students.
- Engaging students during First Thursday in civic learning and discourse through a variety of activities. For the first three First Thursdays of the academic school year, we intensified voter registration, education, and pledge to vote campaigns were heightened. First Thursdays is continuing this spring as a way to educate our students utilizing various modes such as movies and technology, live speakers, panel discussions, debates, and podcasts.
- A presentation by a local Judge to speak to faculty, staff, and students on Constitution Day.
- Engaging students in curricular and co-curricular activities that were COVID-compliant such as outdoor movies, Good Trouble, and virtual panel discussions.
The campus voter-friendly action plan aims to educate and prepare students to participate in the democratic process and social responsibility while fostering a civic philosophy that persists naturally. The goal is to increase civic learning and democratic engagement and embed it in students’ everyday learning thus lives to advance the University’s legacy.
Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, educates and empowers students to lead their communities and change the world. Embracing the civic mission of higher education is an example of the way Lincoln cultivates the character, values, and standards of excellence needed to enable students to become responsible citizens of a global community.
The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses to represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes many Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The program is ultimately serving millions of students.
Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and legal support organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting and improve election administration across the United States. Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students, and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.